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Marcos bares ‘agenda for prosperity’, proposes P5.268-T budget for 2023

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said that his administration’s proposed national budget for 2023 worth P5.268 trillion is anchored on what he called the “Agenda for Prosperity” that aims to achieve his medium-term macroeconomic and fiscal objectives.

President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. (Noel Pabalate)

In his message to Congress, Marcos said the objective of the largest proposed budget in Philippine history is economic transformation.

He added that the following goals inspire the Agenda for Prosperity:

  • 6.5-7.5 percent real gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2022
  • 6.5-8.0 percent real GDP growth annually between 2023 to 2028
  • 9.0 percent or a single-digit poverty rate by 2028
  • 3.0 percent National Government (NG) deficit-to-GDP ratio by 2028
  • Less than 60 percent NG debt-to-GDP ratio by 2025
  • At least US$4,256 gross national income (GNI) per capita or the attainment of upper-middle-income status

“These are, in fact, the measurable medium-term macroeconomic and fiscal objectives stipulated in this Administration’s Medium-Term Fiscal Framework (MTFF),” he said.

Economic transformation

Marcos said the country’s economy was severely affected by “various challenges beyond any leader’s control,” such as the Covid-19 pandemic and recent perilous typhoons like Typhoon Odette that ravaged parts of Mindanao in December 2021.

He also noted the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that rocked parts of Northern Luzon, particularly Abra, last month; and the Russia-Ukraine conflict that triggered a global food crisis.

With these challenges, Marcos said there was a need to transform the country’s economy into a proactive one where people are prepared and economic gains could be achieved.

“We must meet our productivity goals regardless of the disasters and crises that may come our way,” he said.

President Marcos said the Department of Health (DOH) had been given a 4.1-percent budget increase in preparation for further global health challenges. At the same time, the Department of National Defense (DND) received a 9.0-percent increase in anticipation of destructive typhoons and calamities.

The Department of Agriculture (DA), which Marcos leads, received an unprecedented increase of 43.9-percent for its programs and projects in anticipation of a global food crisis and the long-term goal of food self-sufficiency.

Meanwhile, the Build, Build, Build infrastructure program will be maintained at 5.0-6.0 percent of GDP. The Department of Transportation (DOTr) received a budget increase of 120.4 percent so it can move “full speed ahead” on improving the country’s transportation infrastructure.

Priority Sectors

The Education sector received the most significant chunk of the proposed 2023 national budget with P852.8 billion, an 8.2-percent increase from its 2022 funding.

Public Works received P718.4 billion to continue the Build, Build, Build program and fuel the Build, Better, More program that is seen to generate more jobs.

The Health Sector will receive P296.3 billion as the country continues to address the pandemic and expand its healthcare systems to the regions.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will receive P197 billion to address the needs of the poor and marginalized.

The Agriculture Sector, which comprises the DA, its attached agencies, and the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), is poised to receive P184.1 billion.

Lastly, the DOTr will receive a budget of P167.1 billion. This will cover the augmented funding requirements for various foreign-assisted railway projects.

Allocation for other departments, programs bared

Based on the President’s message, the administration proposed the following 2023 budget allocations for these departments, programs, and sectors:

  • Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE): P26.2 billion
  • Department of Migrant Workers (DMW): P15.2 billion
  • Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps): P115.6 billion
  • Educational assistance and subsidies: P54.9 billion

Moving toward green governance, the Marcos administration is proposing P453.1 billion for “climate change expenditures of implementing units,” such as projects for sustainable energy and environmental stability.

“All these programs will be supported by the proposed National Expenditure Program to propel our nation’s economic transformation and achieve our Agenda for Prosperity,” President Marcos said.

Meanwhile, allocations to local government units (LGUs) will amount to P962.2 billion or 18.3 percent of the proposed budget.

On the other hand, P582.3 billion, or 11.1 percent of the proposed budget, will be used to pay for obligations to the government’s creditors.

Assumptions

In his message, President Marcos said the administration hopes to sustain a 6.5-8.0-percent growth from 2023 to 2028. This comes with 17.6 percent of GDP by 2028.

“Such growth will reflect the expected recovery in the global economy and the anticipated decline in global oil prices,” he said.

“We hope to achieve this through tax policies and tax administration reforms,” he added.

The Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) projects the debt-to-GDP ratio of the National Government to decrease from this year’s estimate of 61.8 percent of GDP to reach less than 60 percent by 2025 and to further decline to 51.1 percent by 2028.

“By 2028, we intend to pass on an economy that bears no traces of the negative effects of the pandemic,” Marcos said.

The President likewise announced his 8-point Socioeconomic Agenda:

  • Food security
  • Improved transportation
  • Affordable and clean energy
  • Healthcare
  • Social services
  • Education
  • Bureaucratic efficiency
  • Sound fiscal management

— Argyll Cyrus Geducos

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Credit belongs to: www.mb.com.ph

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